|"Wait, what was I saying?"|
The ranking Republican member on Washington state’s House Transportation Committee thinks that riding bicycles causes more pollution than driving cars, the Seattle Bike Blog reported Saturday.
State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) wrote an email to a constituent who disagreed with his support for a new tax on the sales of bicycles, a proposal being considered as part of a larger piece of transportation legislation. Reached by the Seattle Bike Blog, he confirmed the email is real.
In his message, sent to the owner of a bicycle shop, Orcutt wrote: “If I am not mistaken, a cyclists [sic] has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”
He added that when citizens drive cars they are helping to pay for the roads, whereas bicyclists “need to start paying for the roads they ride on rather than make motorists pay.”
Reached for comment, Orcutt told Seattle Bike Blog that “you would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” although he admitted to having no evidence to back the claim.
So essentially this scientifically ignorant Republican is upset that bicyclists get to ride on roads that they don't pay for. (Apparently road repairs are paid for through gas taxes, though that may soon change.) Though I would argue that the contribution to wear and tear on the roads, which creates the the need for much of road repair, is substantially less from bicycle tires than from heavy automobiles.
However back to Orcutt's point about the fact that bicyclists create more CO2 pollution than do automobile drivers. Essentially that's bullshit!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that each passenger vehicle in the U.S. generates on average 4.8 metric tons of CO2 every year, not accounting for emissions resulting in damage to the vehicle and local infrastructure, along with the actual production of fuel. The European Cyclists Federation, however, puts CO2 emissions from biking at about 10 times less than driving a car (PDF), even after accounting for the emissions required to make the bike and emissions linked to food the rider eats to power the device.
You know you would think that after so MANY ridiculous attempts to use science to support their argument, that the Republicans would simply stop using it.
The earth is six thousand years old, women getting raped can "shut that whole reproductive thing down." Mitt Romeny is going to win by a landslide, all completely, and embarrassingly, wrong.
No wonder the Republicans are constantly attacking education. If they can't figure out reality, then dammit they will keep others too dumb to figure it out too!
Update: Apparently Orcutt received so much backlash due his ridiculous statements that he has decided to walk them back:
"My point was that by not driving a car, a cyclist was not necessarily having a zero-carbon footprint," Orcutt wrote in an email delivered to constituents. "In looking back, it was not a point worthy of even mentioning so, again, I apologize."
Well it's nice that he realizes what he said was ignorant, and I have one response to his apology and desperate attempt to put this behind him.